Not only are electronics made of valuable materials — metals, plastics, glass — but the energy required to create them is significant. According the the US EPA, recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power 3500 homes for a year. And the Natural Resources Defense Council estimated US citizens tossed 130,000 computers a day and 100 million cellphones each year.
If you cannot upgrade the hardware or software of your electronics, enough to meet your needs, be sure to delete all personal information and contacts. Eraser for Windows can delete data safely. Mac computers have built-in erasure software. Also remove the batteries before you recycle so they can be recycled separately.
Here are a few resources to help you recycle or trade-in your electronics. Also search online for local groups.
Needs to have a Target Mobile store if you trade in a store, online otherwise.
Best Buy Recycling
Consumer Reports Articles on Recycling Electronics
Dell Computer Recycling
Amazon Trade-In Program
Gazelle Trade-In Program
Basel Action Network
US Government Resources